Harold Copping,(1863-1932) 'John the Baptist,' watercolor.
Harold Copping,(1863-1932) 'John the Baptist,' watercolor.

John the Baptist came as a prophet calling on people to reform their lives -- to repent of their sins so they can begin to live in a new way, preparing for the coming Kingdom of God. Thousands came to the lonely places along the Jordan where he was baptizing, lining the bank of the river. Thousands also came to be baptized as a sign of their repentance -- a mikvah, a baptism of cleansing from their uncleanness and sins. (More on this in Lesson 6.1).

Jesus began his ministry with the same message as that of his reformer-cousin John the Baptist. Jesus announced:

"The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:15; cf. Matthew 3:2 = Matthew 4:17)

A number of Jesus' parabolic teachings center on repentance. There is no salvation without repentance!

3.1 Uncleanness is Internal not External

3.2 Repent before Judgment Comes

3.3 Obedience Required

3.4 Discernment

3.1 Uncleanness is Internal not External

As we begin examining Jesus' parables about repentance, we need to consider three analogies in which Jesus taught about the nature of uncleanness and cleansing. These parables answer the question: Why do we need to repent? What do we need to repent of?

Analogy of Cleansing the Cup (Matthew 23:25-26, §210; Luke 11:39-41, §154)

In Matthew, this brief saying is in the context of a series of woes on the Pharisees.1 In Luke, it is given during a dinner at the home of a Pharisee.

Ritual Rinsing of Hands before Meals

"When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined2 at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised." (Luke 11:37-38)

The word translated "wash" is Greek baptizō, which means "dip, immerse," used in the New Testament in a ceremonial sense. Here it means, "wash ceremonially for the purpose of purification, wash, purify." It is also used of baptism: "plunge, dip, wash, baptize."3

The Pharisees took ritual cleansings very seriously. For example, at the wedding at Cana that Jesus attended, six stone water jars were present, "... the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons" (John 2:6).

We teach our children to wash their hands thoroughly before eating in order to prevent diseases. But the Pharisees didn't wash in order to get rid of germs. They washed as required by the "tradition of the elders" in order to cleanse their hands from spiritual defilement that might be taken into the body. Mark describes the custom:

"3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)

5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, 'Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?'" (Mark 7:3-5)

"The tradition of the elders" was not part of the Bible, but was known as the "oral law," a series of rules designed by the pious as "a hedge around the law," a kind of fence to keep people from violating the core of the law itself. Observe the "oral law," they reasoned, and you aren't in danger of breaking the actual laws in the Torah.

Many organizations have holiness rules. For example, "Don't dance," is a rule designed to prevent illicit sex. "Don't drink," is a rule designed to keep a person from drunkenness. And so on. Rules aren't bad; all families have family rules to keep the household running smoothly. But it is possible to so enshrine our rules that we miss the point entirely.

In the case of the Jews, the actual hand washing didn't involve soap or scrubbing, but rather dribbling some water over the hands. It was an act of spiritual cleansing, ritual cleansing, not really physical cleansing.4

Outer vs. Inward Cleansing

When Jesus and his disciples don't participate in the ritual of "hand washing" at the table that day, their Pharisee host shows surprise.5 He probably remarks to Jesus about this failure and is met with a sharp response.

"Then the Lord said to him, 'Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.'" (Luke 11:39)

It was an insult to the host, surely. But Jesus is trying to make a vital point to save these Jewish leaders from their purely external understanding of purity.6

I have used the same ceramic coffee mug for about 40 years, given to me by my church secretary when I pastored in Los Angeles. It's a wonder that it hasn't broken in all these years. The outside of the cup looks fine, but the inside is stained with coffee from yesteryear. Disclaimer: Every once in a while, I soak the inside in bleach to remove the stains -- but not often enough! It is dark with coffee stains. Gross!

Jesus uses cups and dishes as an analogy regarding the Pharisees' character. They are very concerned with outward purity and observance, but their hearts are full of greed7 and wickedness.8

"Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean." (Matthew 23:26)

Jesus calls the Pharisees, "blind" -- "foolish people!"9 This is obvious! Jesus calls on the Pharisees to see the obvious -- that cleaning must include the outside and the inside. The inside is the real person.

Analogy of the Whitewashed Tombs (Matthew 23:27-28, §210)

(Also known as Analogy of the Whitewashed Sepulchers)

Matthew continues in the "woes" against the Pharisees along a very similar line:

"27b You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." (Matthew 23:27-28)

Just prior to Passover, the Jews would whitewash the tombs and graveyards around Jerusalem with lime-plaster to make them visible. That way, pilgrims to the festival wouldn't accidentally defile themselves by touching a dead person's grave, and thus have to go through ritual cleaning all over again.10 The whitewashed tomb comment is similar to his saying about the cup: the outside looks clean, but what is inside defiles.11

Analogy of the Defiling Heart of Man (Mark 7:14-23; Matthew 15:10-11, 15-20, §115)

A similar but distinct analogy is found in both Matthew and Mark in the context of Jesus' disciples eating with unwashed hands, as we just saw in the Analogy of Cleansing the Cup (Lesson 3.1 above). Let's examine Mark's version of the Analogy of the Defiling Heart of Man. Jesus speaks to the crowd:

"14 Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a man can make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him 'unclean.'" (Mark 7:14-15)

On the surface it's a kind of riddle. Later, when they were alone....

"15 Peter said, 'Explain the parable (parabolē) to us.' 18 'Are you so dull?' he asked. 'Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him "unclean"? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.' (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods 'clean'.)"12 (Mark 7:15-19)

Jesus is referring to the alimentary or digestive tract that his followers had a basic understanding of:

  1. Eat with mouth.
  2. Digest in stomach, intestines, etc.13
  3. Defecate (literally, "goes out into the latrine").14

Inner Depravity

Mark and Matthew spell out the nature of this inner uncleanness.

"20 What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,
22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils15 come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'" (Mark 7:20-23)

Matthew's and Mark's lists vary slightly. Several of these defiling acts relate to infractions of the Ten Commandments.

  • Evil thoughts.16
  • Sexual immorality or fornication.17
  • Theft18 (Exodus 20:15)
  • Murder19 (Exodus 20:13)
  • Adultery20 (Exodus 20:14).
  • Greed or covetousness21 (Mark; Exodus 20:17).
  • Malice or wickedness22 (Mark).
  • Deceit23 (Mark).
  • False witness (Matthew, Exodus 20:16).24
  • Lewdness or licentiousness25 (Mark).
  • Envy26 (Mark; Exodus 20:17).
  • Slander.27
  • Arrogance or pride28 (Mark), the opposite of humility.
  • Folly or foolishness (Mark).29

Jesus concludes: "These are what make a man 'unclean'" or "defile" him (Mark 7:20).30 As we see in the Sermon on the Mount, the Pharisees emphasized the outward act, but Jesus says that God looks at the inner person, the heart (Matthew 5:21-22).

All this recalls what Jeremiah said long, long ago about the nature of man.

"The heart is deceitful31 above all things and beyond cure.32
Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)

There is an underlying selfishness deep down in us that is deceitful, devious, conniving. Paul bemoans our state:

"I know that nothing good33 lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature (KJV, "flesh," sarx)." (Romans 7:18)

There is something twisted about our nature that gives us what John Wesley called "a bent to sinning." Jesus, too, knew this:

"24 Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man." (John 2:24-25, ESV)

We've spent considerable time looking at three of Jesus' analogies about the corruption of the inner person.

  1. Analogy of Cleansing the Cup
  2. Analogy of Whitewashed Tombs
  3. Analogy of What Defiles a Man

Now we know why repentance is so vital for Jesus' disciples, those who would follow after him. We are corrupt. We need inner cleansing and we are unable to cleanse ourselves.

Q9. (Mark 7:14-23; Matthew 15:10-11, 15-20) What does Jesus teach about the heart of man? What does Jeremiah 17:9 tell us about the heart of man? Why do we try to look good on the outside, but resist letting Jesus change us on the inside? Why is repentance necessary for an outwardly "moral" person in order to be saved?

3.2 Repent before Judgment Comes

Now we'll look at three parables Jesus told about the need to get things right before judgment comes, before it is too late.

Parable of the Guilty Defendant (Matthew 5:25-26, §22; Luke 12:57-59, § 161)

Alcoholics Anonymous, a movement that helps men and women get free from addictions, has formulated a process of repentance in their Twelve Steps. Here are two that stand out to me:

Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

The Twelve Steps were written by people strongly influenced by Jesus' teaching. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples that if you are worshipping and remember that your brother has something against you, go, reconcile to your brother first before you offer worship to God. Repent of what is wrong in your life now. Don't put it off. "First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift." (Matthew 5:24). In other words, "Make amends." Don't put off repentance for what you know is wrong.

To help illustrate this, Jesus tells the Parable of the Guilty Defendant. Where it appears in Luke, Jesus introduces it with the words.

"Why don't you judge for yourselves what is right?" (Luke 12:57)

Scales of Justice
Scales of Justice

"Right" is dikaios, "that which is obligatory in view of certain requirements of justice, right, fair, equitable."34 In other words, don't wait for someone to take legal action against you before you do the right thing. Figure out for yourself what is the right thing and take care of it, rather than wait for a judge to make a ruling against you.

In the Sermon on the Mount the brief parable about civil litigation over a debt follows Jesus' command to reconcile to your brother before worshipping God.

"25 Settle matters35 quickly with your adversary36 who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge,37 and the judge may hand you over to the officer,38 and you may be thrown into prison.39 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny." (Matthew 5:24-26)

The assumption of the parable is that in this case the adversary is in the right and you are in the wrong, for Jesus wouldn't tell us to be reconciled with someone by denying the truth. The situation in Jesus' parable is this: You owe someone a great deal of money, but you won't or can't pay up. So your creditor takes you to court. The case is black and white. You are sure to lose in court and then be sentenced to debtor's prison until your friends pay off your debt ("to the last penny") so that you can be released.

We don't have debtor's prisons today, but they were common in Western jurisprudence until recently. On the surface they seem stupid: If a person is in prison, he can't work to repay his debt. But what happened was that when you were thrown into debtor's prison, your family and friends would come up with the money in order to get you out. Then you have to live the rest of your life with your family glowering at you, never letting you forget the hardship you have caused them. (More on this in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, Lesson 1.2.)

A smart man, Jesus says, will settle out of court if he has a losing case. An intelligent man, Jesus says, will come to an agreement satisfactory to his creditor. A wise man, Jesus says, will appeal to his creditor for mercy, since if your case goes before the judge, it is sure to go against you.

If the person you owe money to is already taking you to court, Jesus says in the Luke version, do your best40 to put together a payment plan before it goes to the judge! Otherwise, the court will rule, turn you over to a bailiff who will put you in debtor's prison, until every last bit is paid. The texts specify the smallest, thinnest Greek and Roman coins.41

Settle Your Debt before Judgment

What does the parable mean? Some have tried to make it an allegory where the adversary is the devil and the judge is God. But the devil isn't given that kind of power or prominence in other passages about the Last Judgment. Rather the devil himself is judged first (Revelation 20:10, 14-15).

Rather than an allegory, this parable has a single point: If you know that judgment will surely go against you, you are a fool not to try to settle the case ahead of time. The implication is: Recognize your sins and make haste to repent and seek mercy before Judgment Day or you'll pay for them completely at the Judgment. Get right with God now! Repent now! Later will be too late!

Q10. (Matthew 5:23-26) Why did Jesus tell the Parable of the Guilty Defendant? How do people we have wronged and to whom we have not kept our promises get in the way of us worshipping God properly? In what ways is it hypocritical not to address these matters to the best of our ability?

Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders (Matthew 7:24-27, §43; Luke 6:47-49, §78)

(Also known as the Parable of the House on the Rock.)
Sandcastle. Photo credit: nsplash/CCO public domain.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders appears at the end of blocks of Jesus' teaching known respectively as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-7:27) and the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:20-49).42

This parable reminds me of the English fable of the Three Little Pigs, about shoddy construction and the big bad wolf who threatens to blow the house down.

Heedless Followers (Luke 6:46-47)

Jesus is surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people listening. I'm sure that after his meetings, people would come up and tell him that they want to be his followers. But how many of these hearers would actually put into practice his teachings? Only a fraction. So he exhorts them to both listen to his words and put them into practice. He asks:

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,'43 and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)

Most fail to put Jesus' teachings "into practice."44 They may call themselves disciples, "hearers, followers," but they aren't following.

"I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice." (Luke 6:47)

Jesus tells a parable to describe them.

Digging Deep Foundations with the Shovel of Obedience (Luke 6:48)

Building a good foundation requires the wisdom to spend adequate time to construct an adequate foundation. Matthew's version of the parable contrasts the builders as "foolish" and "wise" builders.45 Here's Luke's account of the person who puts Jesus' words into practice.

"He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep46 and laid the foundation47 on rock."48 (Luke 6:48a)

Bedrock is typically covered with dirt. The diligent builder takes the time and effort to dig down all the way to a rock substrate. It's more work, but the house stands when disaster strikes.

As I write, my home state of California is going through a series of "atmospheric rivers" of moisture resulting in lots of rain. Rain is expected today again. With the ground saturated, there is flooding. On television we see houses being flattened by the flood waters or floating downstream. It looks just like Jesus' parable.

"When a flood came,49 the torrent50 struck51 that house but could not shake52 it, because it was well built.53 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground54 without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed55 and its destruction was complete."56 (Luke 6:48b-49)

Jesus' pre-ministry profession was as a carpenter, one who specialized in building houses. He abhorred shoddy work for he had seen houses collapse.

Because of the earthquakes we have in California, there are strict building codes that specify foundations of a certain width and depth. Embedded bolts are required to attach the mudsill to the foundation wall. In addition, in earthquake-prone areas, building codes require metal tie-downs or straps anchored in concrete that fasten the structure to the foundation. When a 6.5 or 7.0 earthquake ripples down the fault zone, it is soon apparent which houses are fastened to foundations. As I write, Turkey is recovering from a massive earthquake of 7.8 on the Richter scale. Many buildings today are rubble because of shoddy workmanship, and contractors and building inspectors who didn't follow the building codes are being jailed.

My dear friend, how firmly anchored is your life to the Rock Jesus? How carefully have you put his teachings into practice? Are you a serious, conscientious follower? Or a slipshod, enthusiastic believer who never gets around to anchoring his life in Jesus? Torrents do come to our lives. Earthquakes do bounce us around. Maybe you've just had a serious trembler in your life. It's not too late to found your life solidly on Jesus and his teachings.

Q11. (Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49) Why does Jesus focus the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders on "putting into practice" rather than in "believing"? How can you help young Christians move from believing to true discipleship?

Parable of the Narrow and Wide Gates (Matthew 7:13-14, §40)

Repentance means changing one's heart, turning in a new direction. Jesus tells a parable about choosing between narrow and broad gates (pulē,57 Matthew 7:13-14), which we'll consider here. A similar Parable of the Narrow Door (thura,58 Luke 13:23-27) we'll consider in Lesson 8.2.

The Parable of the Narrow and Wide Gates found in the Sermon on the Mount is short, just two verses, without much context. It is a curious parable, actually a command that uses comparisons.

"13 Enter through the narrow gate.
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction,
and many enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

This parable is a study in contrasts

Narrow gate Wide gate
Hard/narrow way Broad/easy way
Few Many
Life Destruction

Jesus presents two figures, first a gate,59 then a road.60

Two gates. As you enter my rural property from the main road you see two gates. To the left is a narrow pedestrian gate about 42 inches wide (about 1.05 meters) leading to a trail through the woods. To the right is a wide 12-foot gate (3.7 meters) that swings open for a car to go up the driveway. To go to the house, you'd have to go through our pedestrian gate single file, but a lot of people could walk through the wide gate simultaneously. Jesus talks about the two gates with words describing simple dimensions: narrow61 (KJV "strait") and wide.62

Two roads. The other figure is two roads. It is easy to visualize the broad roadway of a multilane freeway and the narrow road of an off-ramp. Jesus describes these, however, with words suggesting how you might feel on such a road.

  1. "Broad" (NIV, KJV), "easy" (NRSV, ESV) is the adjective euruchōros, "pertaining to ample room, broad, spacious, roomy."63
  2. "Narrow" (NIV, KJV), "hard" (ESV, NRSV) is thlibō, "to cause something to be constricted or narrow, press together, compress, make narrow."64

The few, the many.65 We live in an age of polls that tell us what "most" people believe. We tend to adopt an unspoken attitude that, if a lot of people are doing something or believing something, then it can't be that bad. So many people can't be wrong. But it is this very myth of the majority that Jesus warns his disciples against. His disciples must be willing to take the "road less traveled."66 As a parent I remember saying thousands of times, something like, "Just because everybody else is doing it doesn't make it right."

Lemmings have a reputation of following one another over a cliff. It's not true -- fortunately.

The two destinations. Jesus also talks about two destinations. The wide gate and broad road lead to destruction. The noun refers to "annihilation both complete and in process, ruin," here of eternal destruction as punishment for the wicked.67 Whenever we see the word in the New Testament it seems to promise a terrible end.68 I don't expect that the masses know they're headed for hell; they just don't think much about it. They merely follow the bulk of humanity along a well-traveled road, as Paul puts it, "when you followed the ways of this world ... gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts" (Ephesians 2:1-3).

The other destination is life, fulfillment, eternal life69 in the Kingdom of God! Blessing! In contrast to those on the broad highway, those who take the narrow gate and the rougher dirt road have chosen it for a purpose. They know where they want to go and take steps to get there. As the psalmist wrote:

"19 Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
through which the righteous may enter."
(Psalm 118:19-20)

"Few there be that find it" (KJV, vs. 14b). "Finding" something presupposes searching earnestly. Jesus has just taught, "Seek and you shall find" (Matthew 7:7-8). The way is clear only to those who search for it, for at times it doesn't not seem well-trodden, though many saints have walked that way.

Q12. (Matthew 7:13-14) Why is "seeking" necessary to "find" the narrow gate? Why do you think Jesus concludes this brief parable with the phrase, "and only a few find it"? How is this parable designed to strengthen disciples to be willing to go against the flow, to be different from others in the culture?

3.3 Discipleship Requires Obedience

Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-31, §203)

(Not to be confused with the Parable of the Prodigal Son or Lost Son)

The Jewish leaders have increasingly rejected Jesus. He weeps over them in his love (Luke 19:41). But it is important that Jesus' disciples see through the surface hypocrisy of the Pharisees and other seemingly pious Jewish leaders.

Jesus tells the Parable of the Two Sons during Holy Week. He is in the temple where the chief priests and elders question his authority. Jesus tells them he will answer them if they can answer one question:

"John's baptism -- where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?" (Matthew 21:25)

The chief priests and elders are on the spot. If they acknowledge John the Baptist as heaven-sent, they'll be asked why they didn't follow him. If they repudiate John, the people will turn against them. So they refuse to answer. Jesus replies by telling this parable.

"28 'What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, "Son, go and work today in the vineyard."

29 "I will not," he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, "I will, sir," but he did not go.

31 Which of the two did what his father wanted?'

'The first,' they answered." (Matthew 21:28-31a)

At first glance, it seems like a pretty obvious story of a seemingly faithful son who doesn't follow through on his word, and a rebellious son who changes his mind and ends up obeying his father.

But Jesus isn't just telling the parable to teach his disciples the importance of repentance and obedience. The parable is an indictment of the Jewish leaders who had rejected John the Baptist, the prophet whom God had sent to them. It becomes clear as Jesus continues:

"31b I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him." (Matthew 21:31b-32)

The sad truth is that the Jewish leaders saw a move of God but rejected it -- and despised those who were converted in this revival. They not only prevent others from repentance, but they miss out themselves (Luke 11:52). Jesus says of them:

"The Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John." (Luke 7:30)

This can happen in traditional churches today. Leaders must recognize when God is moving, repent of their sins of unbelief, traditionalism, and lifeless faith, and get on board rather than try to stop the move of God.

However, even more this parable speaks to me of the importance of actual obedience to discipleship. It's easy to say, "I'll do it." But true disciples actually follow through. Yes, we often struggle and begin with fits and starts, and begin again. But we follow through. Obedience is the result of true repentance and the mark of a true disciple of Jesus.

Q13. (Matthew 21:28-31) Which son represents the tax collectors and prostitutes? Why do you think so? Why is it harder to actually obey, rather than just mouth the words? How is the lesson of this parable similar to the lesson of the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders? (Matthew 7:24-27) Why is actual obedience essential to true discipleship?

3.4 Discerning Sin in Our Lives

We've been considering parables about repentance. But for us to repent, we need to discern our sins truly. Jesus tells two parables along this line. In Lesson 10.1 we'll consider several other parables about a different kind of spiritual discernment by disciples.

Parable of the Speck and the Beam (Matthew 7:3-5, §36; Luke 6:41-42, §76)

(Also known as the Parable of the Mote and the Beam)

Judgmentalism and hypocrisy go hand in hand. Jesus addresses both judgmentalism and hypocrisy in the Parable of the Speck and the Beam, found in both Matthew's Sermon on the Mount and Luke's Sermon on the Plain.

It powerfully illustrates the need for both humility and repentance in us before we presume to criticize or minister to others. Matthew and Luke's versions are quite similar. Here's the context in Matthew. Jesus has just brought up the topic of judgmentalism.

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Matthew 7:1-2)

Domenico Fetti, detail of 'Parable of the Mote and the Beam' (ca. 1619)
Domenico Fetti, detail of 'Parable of the Mote and the Beam' (ca. 1619), oil on wood, 24 x 17 in., Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Now the parable.

"3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
4 How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." (Matthew 7:3-5)

This parable has to do with two kinds of objects in one's eye:

  • One object is tiny. "Speck" (ESV, NIV, NRSV), "mote" (KJV) is karphos, "a small piece of straw, chaff, or wood, to denote something quite insignificant, speck, splinter, chip."70
  • One object is large. "Plank" (NIV), log" (ESV, NRSV), "beam" is dokos, "a piece of heavy timber, such as a beam used in roof construction or to bar a door, beam of wood."71

Jesus is using humor -- very small speck vs. very large timber -- to make his point. Jesus is speaking in hyperbole, "extravagant exaggeration,"72 used here to make a point.

A speck in your eye is annoying, makes your eye water, and affects your ability to look at anything else very long, since your eye is so irritated. Sometimes you need to ask another person to get the speck out. They have to get your head in a position with enough light for them to see so they can carefully remove it. Specks are so small.

Here's the situation. One person with a beam, plank, or timber in his eye is trying to see well enough to remove a speck from someone else's eye. The point is this: until we take the time to deal with our own sins and weaknesses, we're in no position to help someone else get rid of sin in his own life. The reason we're in no position to help is that we can't see clearly. The Pharisees were the self-appointed correctors of everyone else in society. But though they scrupulously kept the letter of the oral interpretation of the law, too often they missed the spirit or purpose of the law. On other occasions, Jesus rebuked them sharply for their hypocrisy:

"You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:23-24)

Here's hyperbole again, the camel is compared to a gnat, just as the beam is compared to a speck. The Pharisees just don't "get" it. (In Appendix 4.3, we consider the saying, "the blind leading the blind.") Jesus' point is that the accusers' sins are much greater than the sins they see in others.

Psychologists have a term for this kind of distortion in perception. They call it "projection," where you project onto others your own sins and weaknesses.

It works this way. A person struggling with sexual temptation, for example, will loudly and harshly denounce someone else who has fallen in that area. In the 1990s, for example, one prominent televangelist harshly denounced another televangelist for his sexual failures. A few months later it came out that the first televangelist was struggling with his own temptations and was seen coming out of a hotel room with a prostitute.

Trying to correct someone else's failings without dealing first with your own sins results in a harsh and judgmental attitude that is unchristlike -- and ineffective in producing change in the other person. Certainly, we are not to close our eyes to sin in the Body of Christ, especially by leaders (1 Timothy 5:19-20), but we are to not to rush to judgment. We are to look with eyes of mercy and forgiveness, quick to redeem and come to the aid of a fallen brother, rather than to stomp upon him further.

Jesus doesn't say we aren't to help our brothers and sisters get rid of their irritating and debilitating sins. But we are to deal with our own glaring sins first, so we can see well enough to help them, rather than overreact. Then when we see the sins of others, we'll do so with mercy rather than judgmental self-righteousness. Paul says,

"Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted." (Galatians 6:1)

There is a reason that the spiritual members should seek to restore others. Presumably, they've already dealt with their own sinfulness and are able to restore "gently"73 rather than harshly. Jesus' classic parable about this contrast is the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (which we examine in Lesson 9.1); the Pharisee is self-righteous while the tax collector is humble and repentant.

Q14. (Matthew 7:3-5) What is humorous about the Parable of the Speck and the Beam? How can we get to a place where we can see with clear spiritual eyes? Why does Paul insist that "spiritual" members correct sinning Christians with gentleness? What does judgmentalism have to do with hypocrisy?

Parable of the Good Eye (Matthew 6:22-23, §33; Luke 11:34-36, §153)

(Also known as the Parable of the Single Eye and the Lamp of the Body)

Spiritual blindness is also the point of Jesus' Parable of the Good Eye. It occurs in Matthew as part of the Sermon on the Mount and in Luke as part of a discourse with the crowds. It is a difficult parable for us to understand, so we'll take a bit of time with it.

Since Luke's version is a bit longer, we'll follow his narrative. Jesus has just taught about putting a lamp out in the open to shed light, rather than hiding it. (See the Analogy of the Lamp and the Bushel, Lesson 12.3.) Jesus' message is not given in a corner but spread abroad for all. However, reception of his truth is dependent upon the character of the recipient, which he explores in a this parable.

The Eye as the Window of the Soul (Luke 11:34)

Jesus begins the parable by saying,

"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness." (Luke 11:34)

We're used to thinking of lamps in terms of witness, lighting the house so others can see (Lesson 12.3). But here Jesus switches the metaphor. Instead of lighting others, the body's eyes are seen as lenses that transmit light into the body itself.

The reason this is difficult for us is that it isn't a scientific concept but a spiritual one. It is how they looked at things in first century Palestine. The shining light is Jesus, but his light comes into our life only if we have open eyes (hearts) to see and believe the truth. Then we are filled with the inner "glow" of spiritual life.

It all depends upon the health of our spiritual eyes. The word describing the "good eye" means "single, without guile, sincere, straightforward," that is, without a hidden agenda.74 The description of bad eyes uses the Greek word ponēros. In the physical sense it means "in poor condition, sick," and in the ethical sense, "pertaining to being morally or socially worthless, wicked, evil, bad, base, worthless, vicious, degenerate."75

Healthy spiritual eyes allow the full light of Christ's presence and truth to flood into us. But sick, wicked, selfish spiritual eyes, like the Pharisees had, keep us in darkness. What can blind us? Sin. Money. Self-interest. Fear of losing our position.

Psychologists tell us that we all have a filtering system that enables us to concentrate on the important stimuli that we receive, while at the same time ignoring or filtering out all of the unimportant stimuli going on at the same time. Marketers tell us that we see hundreds or thousands of advertising messages each day. To keep our sanity, we filter most of them out. Sometimes men filter out the nagging of their wives, and wives filter out the abusive language of their husbands. We are capable of shutting ourselves into our own little world even in the midst of powerful stimuli of noise and motion and light. Filtering mechanisms are necessary.

When Light Is Darkness (Luke 11:35-36)

The real question, then, is what have we set our filters to filter out? Is our filtering system tuned to God's truth? Does it let in that which is true and good and wholesome, or is it set to admit the perverse, hateful, and obscene? Jesus' admonition is squarely to us disciples:

"See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you." (Luke 11:35-36)

Is your spiritual ear tuned to the negatives or to the positives? To good thoughts or to sinful thoughts. Is your spiritual ear sensitive enough to hear God's voice clearly? Or have you been filtering out God for so long that it is a habit? How do you even know what is right and good, and what is not?

I think of that prayer chorus:

"Open our eyes, Lord, We want to see Jesus,
To reach out and touch Him, And say that we love Him;
Open our ears, Lord, And help us to listen.
Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus."76

We need exposure to the full strength of Jesus' Light and Spirit to change us and give us true discernment. The Pharisees saw Jesus perform miracles and exorcisms, but they discerned them through their unhealthy, sick, self-protecting, wicked spiritual eyes, and saw Jesus as their enemy rather than their Friend. We can't afford to misinterpret Jesus. We must know him as He is!

Jesus' Parables for Disciples, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Available in paperback, PDF, and Kindle formats

We've been studying a series of Jesus' parables that explore the need for discernment of our sins followed by repentance, for actually applying what we have learned from our Master. This is often difficult. Introspection can be agonizing. No wonder some people avoid it and make fun of it. But true discernment, repentance, and putting into practice Jesus' teachings is the only way to grow as a disciple. We walk together on the journey, along the narrow road with Jesus that leads to the Kingdom of God!


Father, without the Holy Spirit to bring us to truth, we can be so deceived, so blind to our own inward and outward sins! Forgive us. Help us to be quick to repent. Please help us to actually put into practice what Jesus teaches us. In His holy name, we pray. Amen.


References and Abbreviations

[1] In Luke it is the first of six woes against the Pharisees. As you'll see, the Analogy of Cleansing the Cup (Lesson 3.1) and the Analogy of the Defiling Heart of Man (Lesson 3.1) have a very similar context. To me they bear the marks of the same teaching being given on similar but different occasions. We'll follow Luke's version for the Analogy of Cleansing the Cup.

[2] The phrase "reclined at the table" (NIV, ESV), "took his place at the table" (NRSV), "sat down to meat" (KJV) is a single verb, anapiptō, "to recline on a couch to eat, lie down, recline" (BDAG 70, 1).

[3] Baptizō, BDAG 164, meanings 1 and 2.

[4] Stephen Westerholm, "Clean and Unclean," DJG, p. 129.

[5] "Surprised" (NIV), "astonished" (ESV), "amazed" (NRSV), "marvelled" (KJV) is thaumazō, "to be extraordinarily impressed or disturbed by something" (BDAG 444, 1aγ).

[6] "Jesus is saying that their practice of cleansing the outside of a cup and dish is just external. Apparently, the cleanliness of the outside of the pottery was distinguished from, and considered more important for ritual purposes than, the inside" (Westerholm, "Clean and Unclean," DJG, p. 130).

[7] "Greed" (NIV, ESV, NRSV), "ravening" (KJV) is harpagē, "robbery, plunder," here, "the inner state of mind that leads to seizure, greediness, rapacity" (BDAG 133, 3).

[8] "Wickedness" is ponēria, "state or condition of a lack of moral or social values, wickedness, baseness, maliciousness, sinfulness" (BDAG 851).

[9] "Foolish people" (NIV), "You fools" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is the adjective aphron (in the vocative): "pertaining to lack of prudence or good judgment, foolish, ignorant" (BDAG 159).

[10] Morris, Matthew, p. 585; France, Matthew, pp. 875-876.

[11] Luke concludes this teaching in a different way. "But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you" (Luke 11:41). Jesus turns the analogy of dishes that are dirty and clean to dishes that bear food that can be given to the poor. He is saying, if you want to cleanse the inside of the dish (which is a metaphor for the inner man), then give food from inside that dish to those who are hungry -- a very powerful metaphor indeed.

[12] Notice that Mark observes parenthetically here that in this teaching "Jesus declared all foods 'clean.'" In other words, foods unclean to the Jews (pork, etc.) don't defile a person spiritually. Romans 14:14.

[13] "Stomach" (NIV, ESV, NRSV), "belly" (KJV) is koilia, "the cavity of the body," here more specifically, "the organ of nourishment, the digestive tract in its fullest extent: 'belly, stomach.'" Even the last part of the alimentary canal is koilia (BDAG 550, 1a).

[14] "Out of his body" (NIV), "is expelled" (ESV), "into the sewer" (NRSV), "goeth out into the draught" (KJV) reflect two key words: ekporeuomai, "go out" and aphedrōn, "toilet, latrine" (BDAG 155). Thayer (p. 88) sees aphedrōn as of Macedonian origin, "the place into which the alvine discharges are voided; a privy, sink." "Privy" (Liddell-Scott, p. 287).

[15] "Evils" is the plural of ponēros, "wicked, evil, base, worthless, vicious, degenerate" (BDAG 851, 1aα).

[16] "Evil thoughts" (NIV, ESV, KJV), "evil intentions" (NRSV) is two words: the adjective kakos, "pertaining to being socially or morally reprehensible, bad evil" (BDAG 501, 1b) and the plural noun dialogismos, "reasoning," here, "thought, opinion, reasoning, design ... evil machinations" (BDAG 232, 2).

[17] "Sexual immorality" (NIV, ESV), "fornication/s" (NRSV, KJV) is porneia (from which we get our word "pornography"), "unsanctioned sexual intercourse," a broad word that covers all kinds of sexual sins, "unlawful sexual intercourse, prostitution, unchastity, fornication" (BDAG 854, 1).

[18] "Theft/s" is klopē, "theft, stealing" (BDAG 550), from kleptō (from which we get our word "kleptomaniac"), "to steal."

[19] "Murder/s" is ponos, "murder, killing" (BDAG 1063).

[20] "Adultery/adulteries" is moixeia, "adultery" (BDAG 656).

[21] "Greed" (NIV), "coveting" (ESV), "covetousness" (KJV), "avarice" (NRSV) is pleonexia, "the state of desiring to have more than one's due, greediness, insatiableness, avarice, covetousness" (BDAG 824).

[22] "Malice" (NIV), "wickedness" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is ponēria, "state or condition of a lack of moral or social values, wickedness, baseness, maliciousness, sinfulness" (BDAG 851).

[23] "Deceit" is dolos, "taking advantage through craft and underhanded methods, deceit, cunning, treachery" (BDAG 256).

[24] "False testimony" (NIV), "false witness" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is pseudomarturia, "false witness" (BDAG 1097). This is specifically lying in a court of law.

[25] "Lewdness" (NIV), sensuality" (NRSV, "licentiousness" (NRSV), "lasciviousness" (KJV) is aselgeia, "lack of self-constraint which involves one in conduct that violates all bounds of what is socially acceptable, self-abandonment" (BDAG 141).

[26] "Envy" (NIV, ESV, NRSV) is literally, "an evil eye" (KJV), using ponēros, "wicked, evil, bad, base worthless, vicious, degenerate" (BDAG 851). "An evil eye" is "one that looks with envy or jealousy upon other people" (cf. Matthew 6:23), by metonymy for "envy, malice", but the meaning "stinginess, love for one's own possessions" is upheld for all the New Testament passages (BDAG 744).

[27] "Slander" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "blasphemy" (KJV) is blasphēmia (from which we get our word "blasphemy"), "speech that denigrates or defames, reviling, denigration, disrespect, slander" (BDAG 178, a).

[28] "Arrogance" (NIV), "pride" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is hyperēphania, "a state of undue sense of one's importance bordering on insolence, arrogance, haughtiness, pride" (BDAG 1033).

[29] "Folly" (NIV, NRSV), "foolishness" (ESV, KJV) is aphroyunē, "the state of lack of prudence or good judgment, foolishness, lack of sense," moral and intellectual (BDAG 159).

[30] The word is koinoō, "to make common or impure, defile,' in the cultic sense (BDAG 552, 2a).

[31] "Deceitful" (ESV, NIV, KJV), "devious" (NRSV) is ʿāqōb, used twice in the Old Testament as "uneven, bumpy ground" (Isaiah 40:4) and then "tough, crafty" (heart), in Jeremiah 17:9 (Holladay 281). "Insidious, deceitful" (BDB 784).

[32] "Beyond cure" (NIV), "desperately sick" (ESV), "perverse" (NRSV), "desperately wicked" (KJV) is ʾānaš, "be sick" (BDB 60); 1. "incurable" (Isaiah 17:11), 2. "calamitous" (Jeremiah 17:16) (Holladay 22). The basic meaning of the word is "to be sick" (2 Samuel 12:15) but most frequently it is used to describe a wound or pain which is incurable.... In Jeremiah 17:9 it describes the desperate spiritual state of the heart in terms of illness" (TWOT #135).

[33] "Good" is the adjective agathos, "pertaining to meeting a relatively high standard of worth or merit, good" (BDAG 3, 2aα).

[34] Dikaios, BDAG 247, 2

[35] "Settle matters" (NIV), "come to terms" (ESV, NRSV), "agree" (KJV) is the present active participle of eunoeō, "be well-disposed, make friends" (BDAG 409). "To wish (one) well, to be well disposed, of a peaceable spirit" towards anyone (Thayer, p. 260).

[36] "Adversary" (NIV, KJV), "accuser" (ESV, NRSV) is antidikos, "one who brings a charge in a lawsuit, accuser, plaintiff" (BDAG 88, 1).

[37] "Judge" (Matthew) is kritēs, "one who has the right to render a decision in legal matters, a judge" (BDAG 570, 1a). "Magistrate" (Luke) is archōn, "one who has administrative authority, leader, official" (BDAG 140, 2).

[38] In Matthew, "officer" (NIV, NRSV, KJV), "guard" (ESV) is hypēretēs (loanword in rabbinical literature; frequently as technical term for a governmental or other official) one who functions as a helper, frequently in a subordinate capacity, helper, assistant" (BDAG 1035). Perhaps "deputy" is a good translation. In Luke, "officer" is praktōr, a technical term designating certain officials. Here a court functionary who is under a judge's orders, something like a "bailiff" or "constable," who is in charge of a debtor's prison (BDAG 859).

[39] "Prison" is phylakē, "the place where guarding is done, prison" (BDAG 1067).

[40] In Luke, "try hard" (NIV), "make an effort" (ESV, NRSV), "give diligence" (KJV) is ergasia, "engagement in some activity or behavior with sustained interest, practice, pursuit" of something (BDAG 390, 1). "Settle" (NIV), "come to terms" (ESV, NRSV), "agree" (KJV) is apallassō, "free, release," here, "to settle a matter with an adversary, come to a settlement, be quit of" (BDAG 96, 3).

[41] "Last penny" (NIV, ESV, NRSV), "uttermost farthing" (KJV) is two words, eschatos, "last" and (in Matthew and Luke) kodrantēs, (Latin loanword, quadrans), "quadrans, penny" = two lepta. It was the smallest Roman coin (BDAG 550). In Mark, leptos, "small copper coin, 1/128 of a denarius, something between a penny and a mill (BDAG 592, 2).

[42] The accounts are similar, but curiously, use some different Greek words in the telling, demonstrating to me that they draw from different traditions of Jesus' sayings.

[43]The Greek word for "lord" is kyrios, "one who is in charge by virtue of possession, owner." The word is also used of the owner of a slave and as a designation of God himself (BDAG 576). When pious Jews read the Bible, they felt the divine name Yahweh too holy to pronounce for fear that they might break the Third Commandment. So they substituted the Hebrew word adonai, "Lord," in its place whenever they read it. Thus, when Jesus' followers are calling him "Lord, Lord," they are speaking to him with extreme reverence and respect, bordering sometimes on worship.

[44]"Puts them into practice" (NIV), "does them" (ESV, KJV), "acts on them" (NRSV) is the present active participle of poieō, "make, product" something, "do," here, "to carry out an obligation of a moral or social nature, do, keep, carry out, practice, commit" (BDAG 839, 3a).

[45] Matthew differentiates the men with the words "wise" and "foolish" (as in the Parable of the Ten Virgins). "Wise man" is two words: anēr, "man" and phronimos, "sensible, thoughtful, prudent, wise" (BDAG 1066). "Foolish man" is two words: anēr, "man" and mōros, "foolish, stupid" (BDAG 663, a).

[46] "Dug down deep" (NIV), "dug deep" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is the aorist active indicative of two verbs: skaptō, "dig into the ground, dig" (BDAG 926); and bathunō, "make deep," intransitive, "go down deep" (BDAG 162).

[47] "Laid the foundation" is two words: the aorist active indicative of the very common tithēmi, "put, place, lay" and the noun themlios, "the supporting base for a structure, foundation" (BDAG 448-449, 1b), in verses 48 and 49.

[48]"Rock" is petra, "bedrock or massive rock formations, rock" as distinguished from stones (BDAG 809, 1a).

[49] "Flood" is plēmmura, "the overflowing of a body of water, high water, flood" (BDAG 826). "Came" (NIV), "arose" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is the aorist middle participle of the very common verb ginomai, "be, become," here, "come into being as an event or phenomenon from a point of origin, arise, come about, develop" (BDAG 197, 3a).

[50] "Torrent" (NIV), "stream" (ESV, KJV), "river" (NRSV) is potamos (from which we get our word "hippopotamus"), "river, stream." It can refer to "the mountain torrents or winter torrents which arise in ravines after a heavy rain and carry everything before them" (BDAG 856, a).

[51] "Struck" (NIV), "broke against" (ESV), "burst against" (NRSV), "beat vehemently upon" (KJV) is the aorist active indicative of prospēssō, "to break into pieces upon striking against something," here, "to break in force against, burst upon" (BDAG 884, 2).

[52] "Shake" is the aorist active infinitive of saleuō, "shake, cause to waver/totter" (BDAG 911, 1).

[53] "Well built" (NIV, ESV, NRSV), "founded upon a rock" (KJV) is two words: the perfect passive infinitive of oikodomeō, "to construct a building, build" (BDAG 696, 1a); and the adverb kalōs, "fitly, appropriately, in the right way, splendidly" (BDAG 505, 1). The KJV "founded upon a rock," represents a major textual variant of the Byzantine text (A C (D) L W Θ Ψ f1, 13). Metzger's committee prefers the "well built" (P75 B L W Ξ) with a {B} confidence rating ("some degree of doubt") (Metzger, Textual Commentary, p. 142).

[54] "Ground" (NIV, ESV, NRSV), "earth" is gē, "earth, ground" (BDAG 196, 6a). Matthew uses ammos, "sand," here of a sandy subsoil (BDAG 54).

[55] "Collapsed" (NIV), "fell" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is sympiptō, "to fall together in a heap, fall in, collapse" (BDAG 959, 1). Matthew uses piptō, "fall," here, of something that, until recently, has been standing (upright), "fall (down), fall to pieces." Of structures, "fall, fall to pieces, collapse, go down" (BDAG 115, 1bβ).

[56] "Destruction" (NIV), "ruin" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is rhēgma, "the event of reduction to a ruined state, wreck, ruin, collapse," literally, "breaking" (BDAG 904). Matthew: "Fell with a great crash" (NIV), "great was the fall of it" (ESV, KJV) uses ptosis, "state or condition of falling, fall" (BDAG 896). "Complete" (NIV), "great" (ESV, NRSV, KJV) is mega, "great."

[57] "Gate" is pulē, "gate, door," literally of gates of cities (BDAG 897, b).

[58] "Door" is thura, "door" of habitable quarters (BDAG 462, 1bβ).

[59] "Gate" is pulē, "gate, door," literally of gates of cities (BDAG 897, b).

[60] "Way" is hodos, "way, road, highway" (BDAG 591).

[61] "Narrow" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "strait" (KJV) is the adjective stenos, "in reference to dimension, "narrow" (BDAG 942). "Strait" is an archaic English word that means, "strict, rigorous," then "narrow" (Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary).

[62] "Wide" (NIV, ESV, NRSV, KJV) is the adjective platus, "pertaining to great extent from side to side, broad, wide" (BDAG 823).

[63] Euruchōros, BDAG 412.

[64] Thlibō, BDAG 457, 2.

[65] "Many" is the adjective polus, "pertaining to being a large number, many, a great number of" (BDAG 847, 1aα). "Few" is the adjective oligos, "pertaining to be relatively small in number, few" (BDAG 702, 1b).

[66] The phrase is from a well-known poem, "The Road Not Taken" (1916) by Robert Frost. It begins, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." and concludes: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by...."

[67] Apōleia, BDAG 127, 2.

[68] Acts 8:20; Romans 9:22; Philippians 1:28; 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 6:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:7, 16; Revelation 17:8, 11.

[69] "Life" is zōe, "life," here, "transcendent life," here, of life in the blessed period of final consummation (BDAG 430, 2bβ).

[70] Karphos, BDAG 510.

[71] Dokos, BDAG 256.

[72] Hyperbole, Merriam-Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary.

[73] "Gently" (NIV), "a spirit of gentleness" (ESV, NRSV), "a spirit of meekness" (KJV) is two words: pneuma, "spirit" and prautēs, "the quality of not being overly impressed by a sense of one's self-importance, gentleness, humility, courtesy, considerateness, meekness" in the older favorable sense (BDAG 861).

[74] Haplous, BDAG 104. "The word-group is most used to express such positive values as free from inner discord, innocent, upright, pure. So when this idea of singleness and simpleness is applied to the physical eye, it probably means healthy vision, in contrast to "double vision" (Marshall, Luke, p. 489).

[75] Ponēros, BDAG 851, 1.

[76] Words and music by Robert M. Cull, "Open Our Eyes, Lord" (John 12:20), © 1976 Maranatha! Music.

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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